Titantic Tweets and Furious Facebooking

Well, it’s been a strange day and a long one. It started with a (virtual) Welsh Male Voice Choir in ‘Lift Up Your Hearts’ and finished with Elvis and family going to see Oliverin Jean Sutton’s traditional Monday night quiz.

In between we learned from Meg Davis (and yes, I have checked that her name is spelt correctly) how to go about getting an agent — and what we can expect that agent to do for us once we have that magic contract. We learned about tricks that don’t work (so I might as well cancel the wine and chocolates); how some writers end up writing totally different books from the ones they are contracted to write; and why an animal narrator is not a good idea. But most of all, I learned that I need to go back home and get on with the writing — Meg advised strongly us against starting the search until the novel is complete.

As a Swanwick veteran (well, a five-yearer anyway), I now allow myself some time away from the formal timetable — the second biggest mistake of white badgers is trying to go to everything, every day, leading to lack of concentration, if not exhaustion by Tuesday! I took some time out this morning and revamped the Chudleigh Phoenix website for the 2013 short story competition that has just been launched. There are flyers in the information room.

The main event today has to be the Twitter vs. Facebook debate. Della Galton proposed that tweeting was the most effective form of social media while Peter Jones fought strongly in support of FB. Despite (or maybe because of) some strong lobbying on Della’s behalf by Jane Wenham Jones, it was a close run thing. Having settled the contentious question of secret ballot vs. show of hands, the first vote was a dead heat at sixteen each. In a move reminiscent of the factory audits I used to do in my previous day-job, ‘when you don’t like the answer, you change the question’. The second vote, on the question of which is the most useful to us as writers, the score was twenty-one to twelve in favour of Twitter. In the true spirit of the age, I provided a live commentary during the debate on both Twitter and Facebook for friends unable to be with us today (and anyone who forgot to in person). I went into the room expecting to vote for FB, but at the end of the session, I was completely convinced that Twitter was faster and easier to use.

Today’s Write About was led by Eileen West who set us the task of writing about the sea in a playful non-threatening way, but also with the inclusion of the word ‘Titanic’. There were some very creative interpretations of the word, both as a noun and as an adjective. As always, I was amazed by how much can be written in a short space of time — and by the huge number of variations around a single theme or trigger.

Oh, and if anyone’s wondering: the biggest mistake of white badgers is to sit at the business end of the table at mealtimes. It’s my theory that the queues outside the dining hall each day are not so much about getting a table with one’s friends as getting a seat away from the serving spoons. Or is that only me?

By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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